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Tracking and Air Quality

Asthma is a disease that can affect your lungs and make breathing difficult.  In the United States, about 25 million people live with asthma. That’s about one out of every 12 people.  Asthma affects people of all genders, races and ages.  For some people, symptoms only appear when they are exposed to something that irritates their breathing.  Other people have a kind of asthma that makes breathing difficult all of the time. We know that there is a connection between exposure to air pollution and asthma symptoms. For example, many adults and children with asthma are more likely to have symptoms when ozone and particle pollution are in the air. The National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is helping us understand the connection between outdoor air quality and asthma. By tracking asthma-related hospital admissions and the number of people reporting they live with asthma, the Tracking Network is helping identify high-risk groups and shaping asthma prevention efforts. 

What We Are Learning from the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

Understanding the burden of asthma involves collecting data about people diagnosed and living with asthma and also collecting data about people who experience asthma attacks.  These data can then be analyzed and shared with key stakeholders.

  • The Tracking Network includes data about people who have been told by a physician that they have asthma and the number of hospital stays for asthma.
  • This information can provide estimates about the people who are affected by asthma and where they may receive care for asthma related issues.  These estimates can be used to plan and evaluate asthma control efforts.  Many of these asthma control efforts are coordinated by CDC’s National Asthma Control Program.
  • Data in the Tracking Network show that the number of asthma hospital admissions increased from 2007 to 2009 for several states reporting into the system. Having this information can alert public health and medical professionals to look for additional asthma prevention education opportunities.

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